Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #501

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Pete has revealed his secret id to May. MJ and Pete are back together.

In Detail...

"Saturday in the Park with May"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #501
Jan 2004 : SMURF 501.500 : SM Title
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Tony Harris
Staff Only
Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #6
Articles: The Shaker

Two stories are told in parralel this issue. One focuses on Aunt May, pouring her heart out to someone in what seems like a park. The other on Spidey fighting a new baddie with powers similar to the Shocker.

May is sitting on what seems like a park bench. She's talking to someone we can't see. She tells them all about her life recently, alluding to Peter's secret id, her life with Pete and MJ - basically her the state of her life at the moment. She comes across as pretty happy and content.

Spidey battles a guy who stole a suit designed to mine underground. It uses low and high frequency vibrations to pulverise rock etc. This guy is very similar to the shocker, as far as the suit and powers go. Of course this guy decides to rob a bank and so Spidey has to battle him across town. Spidey leads the bad guy to a pool where, once in the water, his vibratory powers work against him and he is defeated.

Back in the park, May answers her new mobile phone. It's Peter, back home from his battle, and he invites May out to dinner and a movie. She accepts and starts to leave. She says to her mysterious audience: "Well I have to go. I'll come by again next week." As she walks away, we see in the background the graves of Mary, Richard and Ben Parker with a space on the headstone left blank (presumably for May of course!).

In General...

This was a great reflective issue that I thoroughly enjoyed. JMS has really brought Aunt May back alive as a character. Building on what Paul Jenkins started, making her much more 3 dimension and a more integral part of Peter's life. This is issue really explores that. There's a bit of recapping, but that's all good. May reflects on how finding out Pete's id has changed her for the better and we get a humourous scene as may goes shopping for a mobile phone. JMS plays all this out as mystery conversation, which helps to keep things interesting and the revelation at the end makes sense and is touching, if not totally unpredictable (my other guess would of been MJ's Aunt Anna or possibly Aunt May's ex: Doc Ock! I mean they're trying to squeeze him in everywhere these days).

The fight scenes with Spidey are ok. But, why didn't JMS just use the Shocker instead of Shocker rip-off? Doesn't make sense at all. I like the Shocker. One of the only good things that Mackie did in his tenure was update the Shocker a little. I loved his apppearances back then, he came across as a real badass. It was great! C'mon JMS bring on the real thing! Give us the Shocker! You could even fit him into you totemistic animal motif if you want! Anyway, I did like the end of the fight and how Spidey used a little comicbook science to win the day.

I also really liked the little scences peppered throughout the comic. The humourous scenes with Aunt May looking at magas and buying a mobile, Spidey's banter and the Austin Powers scene with a near naked MJ and a couple of coffee cups. There's also time for some romantic scenes between MJ and Pete.

I don't have any real complaints about this issue as such, but this issue does highlight one thing that I would really like to see. In my mind JMS's best issues have been like this issue. A good mix of supporting characters and a little bit of action. JMS handles supporting charcters really well and his got the MJ and Aunt May thing going pretty well. I think its about time he brought in some more regular supporting characters make into the mix. Maybe a male friend ala Harry Osborn for Pete? Lets see Jonah, Betty, Robbie, Flash, Arthur Stacy, that Billy dude from Todd Dezago's run or anyone really. Spidey has had a pretty good supporting cast in the past. Paul Jenkins is doing okay with it over in Spectacular, but I think JMS could do it better. So c'mon, bring it on!

Overall Rating...

A solid issue, with a lot of great elements.